My Surface arrived about 3 hours ago. That means I can’t tell you too much, but I can tell you my first impressions.
A lot of people have complained about the plug. It is magnetic. Instead of plugging it into the Surface, it magnetically connects to the port. Over the years I have experienced a lot of broken plugs, so I appreciate the concept. If you seat it properly, it stays quite well.
The kickstand is quite nice and holds the Surface at a good angle. I am typing this post on the machine right now, with the kickstand holding it up on the arm of my sofa. With the kickstand in use, the Surface looks so much like a laptop it is easy to try to just pick it up by the keyboard. This is a bad idea, since the connection to the keyboard is not such that it will support the Surface itself.
The screen is large and bright. The touch is responsive. I have experienced no delay as I go from app to app or website to website. I experienced a bit of delay when loading documents from my home network, but not much. Probably about the same as I normally experience.
The Surface has a nice, big screen, The machine itself is small. To give you a sense, I took a picture of it next to my laptop. My laptop isn’t particularly large either. I have a 12 inch wide screen.
Set up is easy. I have an Office 365 account, I don’t know if that made life easier. You will need some kind of Microsoft account. My email, calendar and contacts synced beautifully. The machine took just a few minutes to configure and then it was ready to go.
I linked most of my social media accounts with the Surface, but it really needs separate apps. In the meanwhile, I will use the web browser to access Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. There are Twitter apps already.
I had no trouble connecting the Surface to my home network, and was easily able to open all office documents that I had created in Office 2010.
My surface came with the touch keyboard. I intentionally ordered the other keyboard a few days later, so I would be forced to use the touch keyboard first. The touch keyboard is incredibly thin, barely there, really. It connects to the Surface with a solid click, and stays in nicely.
At first I found the touch key board awkward. But after a few moments I was able to type quite quickly. I am a very fast typist to begin with, so no doubt this has something to do with it.
However, I am still making a lot of mistakes (for me), and I find the keyboard uncomfortable. It is hurting my hands. Also, it is a bit hard to select items using the touchpad when I want to apply bold or something else after the fact. I keep forgetting where space is and I keep hitting the caps lock key by accident.
I haven’t been using the keyboard very long, of course, I imagine in a short while I will be typing extremely fast. But the fact that it is painful for me to use is another issue. I am glad I ordered the other keyboard. Perhaps as I adjust my method of typing, it will become less painful. We will see over the next few days. I didn’t experience any discomfort when I put the Surface on a table, but I also made more mistakes.
The apps are lacking, there is no doubt about that. But they were lacking on other devices when they were first introduced too. So I am not too concerned. I would like to see Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, GoToMyPC (there is a desktop sharing app already,) and a few others to make me happy. But I can manage with what exists for now. The browser will give me access to pretty much everything I need in the meanwhile.
I cannot tell you about games, I didn’t look at the game apps yet.
Since Surface already has Office 2013, it has what I really need, the ability to work with my documents, access the cloud services I use, surf the web, and check my email.
Ease of Use
I have read some complaints about ease of use. I haven’t experienced any problems there. I find the Surface easy to use. It pretty much does what I expect it to do when I click on various locations, or hover the mouse over certain items. Figuring out how to open a new tab in Internet Explorer took a moment. I just held down the touch pad on the right side and the option showed up. When not using the keyboard, you just need to swipe down from the top of the screen.
So far I am pleased with the Surface. I think, once it has a few more apps, it will do exactly what I need it to do. I believe that Microsoft has created exactly what it set out to create. A machine that straddles the world of tablets and the world of laptops. Until I become more comfortable with the keyboard and/or try the keyboard I just ordered, I cannot say if this will be enough for me for when I travel. But assuming this issue resolves itself, I see no reason that the Surface cannot replace my computer for short periods of time when I am on the road, or while I am working away from my main computer, working on blog posts, social media, or other documents.
So, for now, I say well done Microsoft. You deserve Kudos for creating something entirely new.